by Steve Carney
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (620 WDAE) - David Price wasn't at his sharpest, but he kept the Tampa bay Rays close, and Matt Joyce and James Loney's each drove in a pair to give Tampa Bay a 5-4 comeback win over Texas Saturday.
Texas got the scoring started in the first, as both Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus singled to start the game. Price got Prince Fielder to fly out and struck out Adrian Beltre, but Alex Rios lined a two-run double to bring in both runners.
The Rangers added a run in the second thanks to three straight singles from Josh Wilson, Choo, and finally Andrus, all with two out.
Tampa Bay finally got on the board leading off the third, as Yunel Escobar, who agreed to a new contract extension earlier in the day, hit a solo home run to make it 3-1.
Price couldn't have a shutdown inning, as he hit Robinson Chirinos to lead off the fourth. Leonys Martin sacrificed him to second, and Wilson moved him to third with a flare single before Choo brought in the Texas catcher with a sacrifice fly.
Joyce brought the Rays back to within a run in the fifth, blasting a two-run bomb off Martinez two batters after James Loney drew a walk.
The Rays had a golden opportunity to tie the game in the seventh, as Joyce and pinch-hitter Logan Forsythe each singled off reliever Jason Frasor, but Forsythe was thrown out trying to stretch his single into a double, then Escobar grounded out to a drawn-in Andrus at short, and DeJesus grounded out to end the inning.
Tampa Bay finally got the lead in the bottom of the eighth, as Wil Myers walked against Neal Cotts, moved to second on a sacrifice by Zobrist and after Longoria was intentionally walked, Loney came through with a double over Choo's head in left, bringing in both runners.
Brandon Gomes earned his first win of the year, pitching a scoreless top of the eighth.
Grant Balfour worked a scoreless ninth for his first save of the season.
Tampa Bay can complete the sweep Sunday, when Alex Cobb (0-1, 7.20 ERA) takes on Yu Darvish (13-9, 2.83 ERA in 2013). First pitch is scheduled for 1:40, with coverage on WDAE starting at 11:30 with the Suncoast Hyundai Dealers Inside Pitch.